Local people and organisations across Northampton have been working together to help make it easier for everyone to enjoy getting back to nature.
The result is the ‘Active Quarter’, a partnership of land owners, charities, businesses, and community groups working together to improve access to the vast greenspace from the south of the town centre towards Brackmills Industrial Estate and Hardingstone. This outdoor space offers a range of attractions, such as the award winning Northampton Bike Park, The Washlands Nature Reserve, and miles of footpaths through nature.
Since 2020, residents have played an active role in making these spaces even better. For example, local residents helped curate the new range of workshops and classes at Delapré Abbey, while public research projects run by the University of Northampton helped demonstrate the need for more accessible footpath signage in Delapré Park.
Dr Declan Ryan (University of Northampton) says, “The ambition for the Active Quarter partnership is to help make it easier for everybody to access safe, high-quality outdoor spaces – and enjoy getting active however they choose. The partnership aims to champion community engagement and ensure local residents have an active role in deciding how to improve these spaces.”
This month, the vision for the Active Quarter takes another step forward with the launch of a brand new website. The website is designed to make it even easier for local people to find and enjoy great outdoor spaces in Northampton.
It includes a directory of the outdoor spaces within the Active Quarter and gathers together information about street lighting, seating, public toilets, and other useful details. It will also include upcoming health & wellbeing events and updates about all the ways local communities are guiding improvements in the area.
In-keeping with the aims of the Active Quarter project, the website will grow and change over time – and residents are already being invited to contribute to it. Visitors to the site can complete a website feedback form, contribute to a map of outdoor seating in the area, and shout about local community groups they are part of.
“We’re really excited about the launch of our new website,” Declan continues. “Parks and outdoor spaces are vital for our health and wellbeing. And we hope this can become an excellent resource, supported by the community, to help people get the information they need to get outdoors with confidence.”
The Active Quarter partnership includes organisations across the region, including Northamptonshire Sport, University of Northampton and Delapré Abbey. Richard Clinton the CEO at Delapré Abbey adds “It’s amazing to showcase the beautiful range of green space we have around Northampton and the public having easy access to engage with these spaces is something we are passionate about. The community is a massive part of what we do as an organisation and the active quarter website helps connect the community with green spaces that are improving wellness around Northamptonshire.”
Visit the new Active Quarter website: https://activequarter-nn.co.uk/